You are Loved

Well, I believe I said I would post every Wednesday morning. And alas, it is Wednesday night. SO, I overrule my previous statement to say simply Wednesdays :) I’m sorry for my own inconsistency.

Today/tonight I want to focus on perhaps one of the most simple truths of the gospel, yet one that so many struggle to really believe. I want you to know that you are loved. Deeply, truly, personally, unconditionally loved.

I think for many (including myself) that is a really hard thing to believe. I’m not sure why it can be such a struggle, but it is. I sit here wondering why that is so tough to grasp and I think it’s simply Satan. One of the deepest desires of any (and every) human is simply to be loved. In that deep, true, personal, and unconditional way. We long for satsifaction that affirms who we are and what we are doing and we look for it in every place but the one who has it.

Love is hard. For selfish, sin-soaked humans to forsake our desire to please self and to instead serve another is not just unnatural, it is impossible. Without the strength of Christ in us we cannot love. We will forever choose to serve ourselves. That is, my friends, if we acting out of our flesh. Our inclination is to do whatever will best advance our work… yet in Christ, well… all bets are off. Everything changes.

Do you believe that? With your whole heart? Do you really believe that when you are in Christ everything changes?

It does. It should. It must.

It must because as followers of Jesus we bear His name like a stamp on our foreheads. Either we acurately promote who He is and what He is about (grace, forgiveness, honesty, love) or we misrepresent who He is and what He came to do. I beg you not to do the latter.

1 John 4:19 says, “We love because He first loved us.” Plain and simple, sista. We have the ability to love because God loved us. And He not only loved us, He showed us His love by sending Christ to take punishment that we earned by sinning against Him! It wasn’t fair! But then again, love usually isn’t.

I need you to know that you are loved by our Father. Whether your earthly dad was good or bad to you is not what I want you to think of right now. The most beautiful way that Jesus knew to describe Yahweh was that of a perfect father.

I want you think of Yahweh and think of the love that it took for Him to choose to place all of your sin on His Son.. and not just the sin but the wrath it deserved. Think of that Father and that love. Think briefly of your own sin and deeply you have offended the Father who has given you “every good and perfect gift” (James 1:17). I say think only briefly because to dwell in your sin would miss the point. You have been rescued and redeemed. You are no longer bound to sin! Because of His love. All because of His love for YOU. And when you think that your sin is too great; when you think your unfaithfulness deserves not a faithful Lord; when you think that no one could ever love you again remember this:

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

That is PROMISE, dear girls, that is as sure as the Lord it speaks of. Nothing can separate you from His love.

Find peace in knowing that YOU ARE LOVED.

And He is Yours

You are His.

What a blessing. What an honor. What a joy. What makes each of these truths so sweet is more than you being His. As children adopted into the family of God, we receive a Father. Not only are you His, but He is yours.

Last week we saw that when we are His we a kept safe and secure in knowledge that He is in control. But it is more than that. How does being His look practically? That’s what I want to know. It’s what I need to know if I’m going to live what I believe.

Practically, Christ being ours means we have an advocate. We have One on our side who is fighting for us, encouraging us, and loving us.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mervy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16

The truth that He is yours matters because we have a Savior who, as the unknown author of Hebrews states, knows exactly what we are going through. We are not drowning out at sea with God in Heaven wishing He knew what we were feeling. The difference between us and Christ is not that we are tempted. It is not that we experience hardships. The difference is that we sin, and He did not.

This means that we struggle and fail, and Christ struggled but was victorious.

“‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the vitory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-57

Cling to this, my friends! Find rest knowing that where you are and the struggles you are facing are not unknown to Christ. Approach the throne of grace with confidence! Receive the mercy offered to you by Christ and find help in your need. Christ is sufficient. His grace is sufficient, as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

God promises through Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are temped, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

The verse in Hebrews talks about receiving mercy in your time of need. What is your ‘time of need’ right now? What is plaguing your thoughts and causing you to lack trust in God’s goodness? In God’s plan?

You are not alone. Surrender your concerns, your fears, and your situation- your ‘time of need’- to the God who watches over you. Cling to the promise that you are His. And because of that, He is yours.

You are His

It would only be fitting to begin a journey such as this with one statement:

You are His.

What this means in your life is powerful and unchangeable, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’ll save the practical stuff for next week. Right now, I
just want you to pause for a moment and think about that truth for a moment.

You are His.

Everything we will talk about or think about over the course of this summer hinges on this one statement. It’s one you must be sure of and I assure you I’m
not making a big deal out of something that should be a little deal. In fact, this is the thing that becomes a little deal way more than it becomes a big
deal and it NEEDS to be a big deal.

It needs to be a big deal because if you aren’t already His none of this will matter to you.

It needs to be a big deal because if you are His and you’re not living like you’re His you’re missing it.

You’re missing the point. Because the point is that when we are His we are taken care of. It doesn’t mean your best friend won’t die of cancer. It doesn’t
mean you won’t fail a class or get dumped or get in fights with your mom. It doesn’t mean your dad won’t leave and it doesn’t mean you’ll be financially
secure for the rest of your life.

It simply and wholly means you are His.

And when you are His you are kept safe. You have the promise that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and have been called
according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) That is the holy, sovereign God working things for YOUR good in HIS way. That is sweet, my friends.

We were once lost in utter darkness with no hope of finding the exit. But “He has rescued us from the dominion f darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14)

We have been saved from death and saved for the purpose of proclaiming the name of Jesus to the world. If we had no purpose on this earth God will call us Home right now, I’m certain. But there is a world around us – beginning with your friends in your town – that are literally on their way to eternal death unless they hear the truth. You have the truth! Don’t be plagued with silence. Speak!

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are” … “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” (1 John 3:1, John 10:28)

I can remember hundreds of times during my childhood and teenage years where a group would gather to play sports. Maybe it was kickball at recess, soccer with friends, or Frisbee after church. Team captains would be picked and everyone else would stand awkwardly in the middle waiting. Waiting to picked. Waiting to be wanted. Waiting to be chosen.

There was nothing better than being picked first. “They want me!” Yes. What a feeling! But equally to match the joy of being picked first is the pang of being picked last. “Why even play if no one wants me?” I would think.

If you feel like a kid being picked last, unwanted and purposeless, cling to the promise that you are His. He has chosen you, called you by name, and ordained your every day before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16). There are few things so worthy of celebration than this.

I know how easy it is for you to read these words, yet not let them truly affect you. So my challenge to you this week is simply to believe this. Believe that you are His and that He is in control. I invite you to think about the things that are keeping you from believe that you are His and to surrender them.

Lord,

It’s so hard to remember that I have been called out of this world and into Your Kingdom. It’s so easy to see what is right in front of me and believe that it is better than You. I’m sorry for forgetting this promise that You have called me by name. I’m sorry for forgetting that I am Yours, and living like I am not. Please help me to remember that you have ordained my every moment. Help me to live out each day in the truth and promise that I am Yours. I love you.

Amen.

Sweet Summer Time

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:23-24

Lately, my heart has been burdened with the thought that summer should not so much be a time to take a break and do nothing, but a time to find new
ways to minister, encourage, and serve (even if I’m far away from anyone and everyone!).

SO- Welcome :) I am thankful for the few minutes you’ve given even just to check it out. My desire is that every week this summer I can challenge
and encourage you with the living, active, and holy Word of God.

This week I began reading In Real Time by Mike Glenn, the pastor of a church in Nashville that I hope to visit during my short time there this summer. Pastor Glenn talks about “you are” statements and the power that they have over our lives. If, when we were young, our parents or other significant adults told us “you are smart” or “you are beautiful” or “you are worth it” we would walk forward in our lives believing these things. However, if we were instead told “you are stupid” or “you will never amount to anything” or “you are a failure” we will carry these words with us and sadly, we will believe them.

Unfortunately, I feel that the struggle that plagues most girls is that we believe lies from Satan over the truth of God. We don’t have to look
far to see that this has been a struggle from the beginning. In Genesis 3 the serpent goes to Eve and says the tantalizing words, “Did God really say…?” (vs.1) Initially Eve rightly rebukes him and says, “but God did say” (vs. 3, emphasis mine). However, after just a slight twisting of the truth, and a giant doubt of God’s goodness, Eve was deceived (read on in chapter 3).

It is my prayer, hope, and desire that this summer you will fight the lies of Satan with everything inside of you. In an effort to “spur you on
toward love and good deeds” I will be challenging Satan’s lies with God’s truth in the form of “you are” statements.

Every Wednesday morning I will post a new “you are” statement. Packed with Scripture, challenges for the week, and perhaps a guided prayer or
two, I simply want to equip you with truth. After posting a “you are” statement one week, the next week I will expound on how it ought to look in our lives. What you are and why it matters!

Read it once, or read it every week. My only prayer is that you will allow the Word of God to capture your heart and sweep you away. I promise
lies will come. Fight them. Believe truth and run after Christ with all you are.

((p.s. Please never hesitate to send me specific prayer requests. You have my word that when you send them I will pray.))

Be blessed, dear girls!

:),

 Jennifer